Landlords in Connecticut has the right to raise the rent. But, the rent cannot be increased during the period of a written lease unless the parties have agreed to the kind of increase. Also, a landlord is not required to give a certain amount of notice to the tenant of an expected rental increase (for example, a thirty day notice) unless that kind of notice was agreed upon when the lease was signed.
If the landlord and tenant cannot agree on a new amount of rent, the tenant must pay whatever the tenant considers to be the fair rental value of the apartment. That amount may be the same amount as the old rent or a higher amount that is less than the landlord is asking for.
As long as the tenant tries to pay what is honestly believed to be the fair rental value of the apartment, the landlord may not be able to evict for nonpayment of rent. But, the landlord may be able to evict for another reason, for example, because the lease has ended or because the tenant’s right or privilege to stay in the premises has ended.
Some cities and towns in Connecticut have Fair Rent Commissions. Those commissions get complaints from tenants who feel that their rents are too high, investigate the complaints and hold hearings to determine the fair rental value of a particular unit. It is not necessary that you hire a lawyer to represent you at the hearing, but hiring a lawyer may be helpful.
A fair rent commission may be used by a tenant who:
- feels that an expected rental increase is unfair;
- is being charged for utilities that were included in the original rent; or
- believes that the rent is unfair because of unsafe or unhealthy conditions which are illegal.
Only a tenant who lives in a city or town with a Fair Rent Commission may file a complaint with the Com- mission in that city or town.